Rack Press ever impresses – Poetry Review
The consistently reliable Rack PressTimes Literary Supplement
I have come to hope that a Rack Press pamphlet may be a tiny gift-box of unusually good poems – Alison Brackenbury, PN Review
Rack Press has the courage to be brief and elegant – The Rialto

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

2015 Titles Available for Purchase NOW!

We are pleased to say that the new titles for 2015 (see previous post) are available for purchase now online using Paypal or if you prefer by post or from good independent booksellers like the London Review Bookshop.  Click on the Paypal Button here.

SPECIAL OFFER  A free mystery Rack Press pamphlet with every online order between now and 31 December.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

New Titles for 2015 soon to be published

Katrina Naomi signing the advance copies
of her new pamphlet, Hooligans.
Four new Rack pamphlets will be published officially on 4 February 2015 at our London launch and 10th Birthday Party but copies will be available for sale from next week.

The titles are:-

De’Ath & Daughters
by A.C. Bevan

A C Bevan’s poems have appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies and newspapers in the UK, Europe and the US. He is the author of three pamphlet collections to date, and lives and works in Bristol. The poems in this collection explore sex, love and death through the ages. These are tales of some of the great heroines of folklore, myth and history retold for our modern age.

by Katrina Naomi

Katrina Naomi wrote Hooligans after learning that her great-grandmother was involved with the Women’s Social and Political Union – one of the more militant Suffragette movements. Hooligans considers the nature of women’s, and occasionally men’s, protests for the vote, ranging from violent demonstrations and window breaking, to imprisonment and force feeding.

Katrina is completing a PhD at Goldsmiths in creative writing, with a focus on violence in poetry, and teaches at Falmouth University. Her previous collections include The Girl with the Cactus Handshake, which was shortlisted for the London New Poetry Award and Lunch at the Elephant & Castle, which won the Templar Poetry Pamphlet Competition.

Alabaster Girls
by Damian Walford-Davies

The poems in Alabaster Girls weigh up the ‘supple heft’ of bodies – erotic, stony, planetary and spiritual, confronting both ‘the cant of the machine’ and ‘the telemetry of love’.  Alabaster Girls ‘tartly confronts the world’s cruelties, revealing the unsettling proximity between guns and golden dust’.

Damian Walford Davies was born in 1971. He teaches at Cardiff University. His co-authored collection, Whiteout, appeared in 2006. Suit of Lights (a Wales Literature Exchange ‘Bookshelf’ Choice) was published in 2009, followed by Witch in 2012. Judas will appear in 2015. His collections are published by Seren.

Mineral Adventures
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley

Fiona Pitt-Kethley is the author of more than twenty prose and poetry books. Since 2002 she has been living in Spain with her husband, grandmaster James Plaskett and their son Alex. She lives close to the Sierra Minera and became an avid collector of stones, joining a local society and going on excursions with them. Mineral Adventures is based around various, mostly rare, minerals and the places where they are found. Minerals often have a unique form peculiar to a particular place. You only realise this when you start to collect. The poems seek to portray the rarities of the minerals and the places they come from.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Rack Press Wins Michael Marks Award

Sue Murray (Rack Press), Geraint Morgan and
Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch at the Michael Marks Awards,
25 November at the British Library.
We are very pleased to say that we won the Michael Marks Award for Publisher of the Year  on 25th November at a ceremony at the British Library.  The Michael Marks Awards have become over the past few years the principal award for poetry pamphlet publishers in the UK and have played a major part in the current renaissance of this very special form of poetry publishing which unites experienced and debut poet.   Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, whose excellent Rack Press pamphlet, Lime&Winter was shortlisted for the individual pamphlet award (and which can be ordered online here) gave a characteristically spirited and accomplished reading from the pamphlet. The eventual winner of this category was Laura Scott for What I Saw (Rialto).

Rack Press publisher, Nicholas Murray, speaking at the Awards said:

Rack Press is a Welsh poetry imprint that next year celebrates its 10th birthday when we will have published 34 poets.  We are planning for 2015 readings, events and a full programme of new pamphlets.  It promises to be an exciting year for the Press.

Our philosophy is to publish high quality, well-crafted poetry in attractively designed editions and to ensure that we always publish side by side experienced poets and debut collections and that we have equal numbers of male and female poets.  

We favour poetry that engages with the world of politics and current events as well as lyric poetry and, as the only Welsh pamphlet publisher ever to have been shortlisted in any category since the inception of this Award, we take very seriously our commitment to Wales and to the Welsh poetry and cultural scene.

Like most poetry publishers we have found that we have to work harder than ever to maintain sales.  There is an interesting mathematical relationship between the increase in the numbers of people writing poetry and the numbers of people buying it.

This year we published six pamphlets, and launched a new venture of short prose books under the imprint Rack Press Editions, the first title of which, Bloomsbury and the Poets, described by The Spectator as ‘a delight’, has sold well and has provided the Press with a welcome extra revenue stream.

Rack Press has taken part in readings in Wales and elsewhere and we are keen to do everything we can to widen the audience for serious poetry.

In the end our publishing philosophy is about bringing quality work to the attention of as many people as possible, in attractive form, with an emphasis on craft, and with a belief in the poetry pamphlet not as a ‘nursery slope’ publication nor as a sideline for established poets but as a significant genre in its own right that presents coherent short collections, themed sequences, and individual long poems in a perfectly satisfying format.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Colin Matthews, Christopher Reid and Rack Press

We are pleased to see that the new CD, No Man's Land, by Colin Matthews from Hallé has appeared and it contains the piece composed to words by Christopher Reid published as a Rack Press pamphlet in 2011 (sadly now out of print but reproduced in Christopher's 2012 Faber collection, Nonsense).  In some interesting programme notes to the CD which I am sure Colin will not mind our reproducing here, he explains the background to the piece:-

"No Man’s Land follows on from my very positive collaboration with Christopher Reid on Alphabicycle Order 2 several years ago. The origin of the work was a call from Richard Hickox in November 2008, full of his usual bubbly enthusiasm and proposing a Proms commission to celebrate the City of London Sinfonia’s 40th birthday in 2011. Like everyone, I was shocked to learn of his sudden death three days later. Richard conducted my first ever Proms performance, in 1983, and clearly the work had both to be written in his memory and take a different direction from his original suggestion of a celebratory work.  I have been obsessed with the First World War for many years, long before the centenary of its outbreak came into view (one reason being that my maternal grandfather died on the Somme). But it is no easy subject to treat musically. Although I set Edmund Blunden in Aftertones I have avoided trying to set other war poets, particularly with the example of Britten and Wilfred Owen in mind. When I asked Christopher Reid to provide the text for this work I suggested the concept of a soldier in the midst of war, almost unaware of what he’s found himself a part of. In the event his sequence of poems provided something both different and unexpected: we hear the ghosts of two soldiers hanging on barbed wire in no man’s land. ‘To pass the time, we let the wind/rummage in the hollows of our skulls/for memories and scraps of song and wisps of rhyme’. Although there are elements of dialogue in the piece, and towards they end they sing together, they see the war for the most part through different eyes. The reflective Captain Gifford is contrasted with the moredown-to-earth Sergeant Slack both by language and by the music they sing, with the sergeant’s music embracing both an invented vernacular and original songs and marches from the period, including recordings made in 1914."
Colin Matthews © 2011/2014

Friday, 17 October 2014

Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch on Michael Marks Shortlist

We are delighted that Samantha Wynne Rhydderch's Rack Press pamphlet, Lime & Winter has been shortlisted for the 2014 Michael Marks Award for poetry pamphlets and that Rack Press itself has been shortlisted for the third year running for the Michael Marks Publisher's Award.  The results will be known at a special dinner at the British Library on 25th November.  Congratulations to all the other shortlisted poets and publishers and thanks to the Michael Marks Award and the Wordsworth Trust and British Library who have helped to establish this as the major British award for poetry pamphlet publishing which is a particularly lively and flourishing sector of poetry publishing just now.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Rack Poets at the Dylan Thomas Centre

Deirdre Shanahan at an open air reading
at the Free Verse
Poetry Book Fair in London on 6 September
There was an evening of Rack Press poets t on Thursday 11th September at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea which we greatly enjoyed.  The poets were Deirdre Shanahan, Ros Hudis, William Palmer, and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, a great line-up all of whose recent pamphlets can be ordered here.
Ros Hudis, William Palmer, and Deirdre Shanahan
at Swansea

Rack poets, Denise Saul, Roisin Tierney and Deirdre Shanahan, will be reading on 23rd September in London as part of the Pelmeni Poetry Series and once again you are warmly invited.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Come and See us at the Poetry Book Fair

Rack Press will be having a stall at the Free Verse poetry book fair on Saturday 6th December at Conway Hall in London and we would love to see readers so stop by (and, if you are so moved, buy one).  There will be some special offers on the day.

This is an annual event that brings together all the smaller independent poetry presses (and a couple of big ones too) and is a great opportunity to see what's on offer from the poetry presses.  We look forward to meeting you.

We are also very pleased to have had a rave review in The Spectator for Bloomsbury and the Poets by Nicholas Murray, the first title in the new imprint Rack Press Editions, calling it "a delight".  You can purchase it here at a reduced price.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Rack Poets Reviewed in Warwick Review

Several Rack poets are reviewed in a pamphlet round-up in the latest issue of The Warwick Review.  William Palmer's The Paradise Commissionaire is described as "an enjoyable taster" and he "writes about grief and ageing with an undercurrent of calm sorrow".  The reviewer praises his narrative skill and delicacy of suggestion.  Ros Hudis whose Terra Ignota is reviewed, is described as "a humane and sensitive poet...determined to tackle those lesser-charted regions of human experience, the intimate and even taboo topics that can cause difficulties in presentation...the voice is always well-honed, each word and thought carefully selected."  Of David Harsent's Songs from the Same Earth the reviewer says: "Each line is perfectly balanced, so well-wrought they almost slip off the tongue..."

We were pleased to see tribute being paid to the craftsmanship of all three poets, something we value very highly in our selection of work to publish.

All these pamphlets can be ordered here.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

A Reading by William Palmer

William Palmer reading at the launch
of his Rack Press pamphlet
The Paradise Commissionaire in London in January
Rack poet William Palmer was recently at Waterstone's in Piccadilly reading from his fiction as part of a Word Factory event.  Click here for a video clip of the event.

You can also see a New Welsh Review podcast that features Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch talking about her Rack pamphlet Lime&Winter and an item on the Press itself.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Rack Press Editions Launched

Today Rack Press launches a brand new venture: Rack Press Editions.  This will be a series of short prose books building on our reputation for quality writing and publishing.  The first of these elegant slim volumes is by Rack Press publisher and poet Nicholas Murray and it is called Bloomsbury and the Poets. It is launched on 26th June but you can order here now at a specially reduced price (see our Paypal button here).

The book entertainingly explores the poets who have lived in Bloomsbury. Here are Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes on their wedding night in a chilly house in Rugby Street; T.S. Eliot courting his second wife with cocktails at the Russell Hotel; Charlotte Mew, born and brought up in Doughty Street and one of the major women poets of the First World War era; Harold Monro’s Poetry Bookshop in Boswell Street where the Imagist poetry school was launched; Roy Campbell in Regent Square writing his verse satire on the Bloomsbury Group; Wilfred Owen drilling in Cartwright Gardens; Andrew Marvell dying in a house on the site of the British Museum; Hilda Dolittle (“HD”) the imagist poet living in Mecklenburgh Square; William Morris in Queen Square writing his Earthly Paradise; and Arthur Rimbaud sweltering in a Victorian guest house in Argyll Square.

‘His amiably informative and well-illustrated book is the ideal companion to any tour’ – The Independent on Real Bloomsbury.

Publishing details: 64pp B format, £8 (£6 online from Rack Press website). Index.
ISBN: 9780992765460

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Rack Poets at the London Irish Centre

Left to right
Michael McKimm, Róisín Tierney, Tony Murray,
Deirdre Shanahan, Jim Conwell, and Martina Evans
There was an excellent turnout on Thursday night (24 April) at the London Irish Centre in Camden Square in north London where Rack Poets Martina Evans, Róisín Tierney and Deirdre Shanahan read with poets Jim Conwell and Michael McKimm (pictured with host for the evening Dr Tony Murray, Director of Irish Studies at London Metropolitan University).
All the poets sold well and a most enjoyable night was had by all.

The London Irish Centre runs an extensive programme of vibrant arts events and we were particularly pleased to be included amongst their events for this season.

Róisín Tierney, Sue Murray of Rack Press, Deirdre Shanahan,
and Martina Evans at the London Irish Centre

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Rack Poets at the London Irish Centre And in Yorkshire 24 April

Three Rack poets are reading at the London Irish Centre on 24th April with Michael McKimm and Jim Conwell.

Deirdre Shanahan will be reading from her new Rack Press pamphlet, Recovery Position, Róisín Tierney will be reading from her new Arc book The Spanish-Italian Border and Martina Evans will be reading from her forthcoming book from Anvil Burnfort Las Vegas. It will be quite a night.

And if you happen to be in Yorkshire on the same night, Rack poet Ian Parks is reading with others at The Bookcase in Hebden Bridge:

An evening of poetry and music
with poets 
Ian Parks and Atar Hadari
music by Stephen Shulman and guests
Sarah Blood & Nigel Waterhouse

Thursday 24th April
7 – 9 pm
The Book Case
29 Market Street, Hebden Bridge

Atar Hadari’s Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems on H.N. Bialik (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translator’s Association Award. His debut poetry collection is Rembrandt’s Bible (Indigo Dreams, 2013) and his Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin, is forthcoming from Arc Publications.

Ian Parks is the only poet to have been published in the Times Literary Supplement and The Morning Star on the same day. He is described by Points North Magazine as 'an heroic figure in Yorkshire poetry and a living legend in Hull'. His collections include Shell Island, The Landing Stage, Love Poems 1979-2009, and The Exile's House. The Cavafy Variations was a Poetry Book Society Choice.

Steven Shulman is a violinist and composer, a member of The Orchestra of Opera North and founder member of The Frailach Spielers Klezmer Band. Nigel Waterhouse has worked as an accordion soloist with the BBC Symphony and with Opera North, and with the soprano Sarah Blood (Opera North Chorus), will be performing Stephen’s setting of Sylvia Plath’s ’Wuthering Heights’.

hosted by Sarah Corbett

Tickets £5 in advance or on the door. Email: shop@bookcase.co.uk to reserve

Samantha Wynne Rhydderch Reads 30 April

Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch will be reading from her new Rack pamphlet Lime & Winter at the National Wool Museum of Wales on 30th April at 7pm.  

This excellent collection is the product of a residency at the Museum and it will be a fine evening of poetry and music in Wales.  

Admission free.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Two New Titles, from Christopher Reid and Nicholas Murray

Two new titles from Rack Press are published this month and available now from this site or bookshops such as the London Review Bookshop and Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham.  They are launched at The Lamb in Bloomsbury on 16th April.  Come and join us!

Yesterday’s News by Christopher Reid is the result of an unusual and stimulating commission. Alain de Botton, who in the autumn of 2012 was at work on his book The News: A User’s Manual, asked Christopher Reid to supply him with poems – any number – in response to news items that had fired the poet’s imagination. 

Reid continued until he had written what felt like ‘enough’: eleven poems addressing, among other topics common to daily journalism, war, politics, natural disaster, murder, scandal and death. 

Different events elicited different approaches and treatments, and the small collection that accumulated between late October and the middle of December shows how the proverbial ephemerality of ‘yesterday’s news’ can be challenged and transformed by the disciplines of poetic art.

Trench Feet, by Nicholas Murray offers itself as comic relief for those surfeited with World War 1 media coverage.  In this topical satire the centenary of the Great War has arrived and bright, ambitious academic, Jeremy Button, is determined to turn it to his advantage with a TV series on the poets of the war.  But things do not go according to plan…

Following the success of Get Real!  his 2011 satire on the Coalition Government, Nicholas Murray’s new poem lampoons the clichés currently being trundled into position to ‘celebrate’ the centenary of the outbreak of War in 1914.  

‘It is the wit that does the real damage in this bravura display of finely controlled outrage.’   
Times Literary Supplement on Get Real!

O, greatcoats and duckboards, ponies and rats,
poppies and skeletons, mud and tin hats!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Rack Press Poets Reading in Presteigne

Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, Ros Hudis and John Barnie, all published by Rack Press, will be reading at the Wine Bar in Presteigne, Powys on Monday 7th April under the sign of the Red Parrot which has been organising regular readings in this delightful Welsh border town not far from the headquarters of Rack Press itself.

The event will start at 7.30 pm and takes place at No 46, High Street, Presteigne. Further information from Charles Wilkinson:
Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch
reading at the launch in London of her Rack Press pamphlet
Lime & Winter in January this year

Saturday, 22 February 2014

A Very Special Quartet

From left to right: William Palmer, Hazel Frew,
Deirdre Shanahan, and Samantha Wynne- Rhydderch
Here are the first of the pictures of last month's launch of the Rack Poets [see previous post] at the Dragon Hall in Covent Garden.  There are still some signed sets of all four left at the special price of £15 for 4 instead of £20 and you can order them online here.  More pictures to follow...

Thursday, 23 January 2014


Thank you to the nearly 80 people who celebrated on Tuesday night the launch of the 2014 Rack Press poets (see earlier posts for details) at the Dragon Hall in Covent Garden.  It was a very enjoyable occasion and there were fine readings from Hazel Frew, William Palmer, Deirdre Shanahan, and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch.  We hope to have some photographs of the event shortly.  In the meantime here is a Twitpic from the London Review Bookshop who are currently displaying our titles.  There has been some lively Twitter activity prompted by the strange little gentleman in the bottom right hand corner.  We decided he was a prosodic bouncer making sure our poets had not committed any faults of scansion etc.

If you were unable to be at the launch and want to buy copies you can get them from the LRB shop or Five Leaves Bookshop if you are in reach of Nottingham or directly from this blog.

We are keeping open until the end of February our special launch offer of a set of all four pamphlets each signed by the author at £15 instead of £20.  Just use the Paypal button here to order.